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My favorite Bible verse of all time is Ecclesiastes 3:1. It reads “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.(King James Version)”.  For a neighborhood on the eastside of Detroit, that time is now.  The old Packard car plant which lay dormant for years is about to receive new life from across the seas. European billionaire Fernando Palazuelo purchased the old 3,500,000 square foot complex with hopes of bringing new business and jobs to an area in desperate need of a boost.

A town hall was held at Holy Ghost Cathedral in the next block down from the old building under the leadership of Bishop Corletta Vaughn. A rainy Thursday evening would bring the new owner of the Packard building together with his new neighbors for the first time. Cameras from the new reality series “Preachers of Detroit” were rolling to show the world this event. “It’s an exciting night” Bishop Vaughn opens with a smile. That excitement was shared by all in attendance. A small church with a Bishop who’s personality is as large as life itself, filled to capacity to hear a big announcement that will change the face of the Eastside of Detroit forever. All walks of life came to hear what was coming. The plant closed in 1958 and once employed 40,000 people. This was the first ray of hope in the area in 56yrs. Everyone that came through the door was grateful decades of apathy on East Grand Blvd was coming to an end.

Fernando Palazuelo had great success in Peru refurbishing buildings and making them suitable for business. Mr. Palazuelo Presented a power point of his accomplishments in Lima, Peru. His first set of slides highlighted his success with buildings in Peru as old as the Packard. His methods were to preserve as much of the original buildings as possible while at the same time give them an artistic facelift. His passion for art is prevalent in the buildings featured in the slides. Palazuelo’s company Arte Express will now focus on the old Packard plant. In fact, they have established Arte Express Detroit LLC to symbolize their commitment to Detroit. This will be no small feat. The total time for the renovation is expected to take 7-15yrs with 1500yrds of debris already cleared.

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A Q&A followed. The Dais Included, Fernando Palazuelo, Kari Smith Packard Project Manager, and City Council President Brenda Jones; moderated by Bishop Corletta Vaughn.  Anyone in attendance had the opportunity to express any concerns or to ask questions any questions they wished pertaining to the city or the Packard Plant development and indeed they did! One after another, residents approached the microphone to express what was on their minds and hearts. Some just wanted to thank him for his investment in the community. A few asked about jobs and opportunities for skilled trades. One business owner was concerned about the lack of adequate lighting in the area. Another was concerned about the effect of the construction on her business which borders the old Packard Plant. The most heartfelt concerns came from the firefighters who manned the fire station in the next block. The words they shared shook everyone in attendance. As the veteran first responder stepped forward, all eyes were fixed upon him as one of the most important members of the community. Then he spoke. He acknowledged Bishop Vaughn and her husband Pastor Gilbert Vaughn as having supported them in the community since the beginning of the church over 20yrs ago. Especially, during the loss of one their fellow fireman killed in the line of duty. He also welcomed Mr. Palazuelo to the area and pledged the support of the station but there was a problem. The fireman informed all in attendance that the station will soon close due to budget cuts. They were told the news by their superiors at their last meeting. The station itself is one of oldest in the city. It was built back when horses pulled the water pumps. The original hayloft used to feed the horses is still there. Also due to budget cuts, the station is not equipped to handle full scale fires and their current rig is scaled down to handle small fires and rescues only.

Everyone was taken aback by this news. City Council President Brenda Jones used her phone to seek the truth of the Fireman’s claim and was notified via text that the station was not being closed. The Fireman was unmoved by the text. He knew what he was told and the conditions in which he worked, upheld his beliefs. Bishop Vaughn was very concerned as was Mr. Palazuelo. The people in the seats sat stunned. The neighborhood as a whole wanted to know what was going on with their fire station and as a community, felt a little less safe. This would be the first time in a long while this community spoke as one. The Firemen who protected this community now had the strength of the community on their side.

Once the meeting was adjourned, Bishop Vaughn and Mr. Palazuelo greeted all who stayed after. Those who brought resumes, got a chance to give them to Mr. Palazuelo personally. After all, these are his neighbors and he spoke to each person as such. I sat at my table and smiled. I couldn’t stop smiling. Detroit’s revitalization was happening in one of the most unlikeliest of locations. So unlikely that none of Detroit’s major news outlets made it to the event. Of course, they got the story of the first announcements but they didn’t get this. They didn’t witness the faces of excitement I saw. They didn’t sit in the presence of this abundance of hope. I witnessed one of the most decimated communities in Detroit find their way again. It was like witnessing a whole neighborhood wake from a brutal coma. It can easily be said that while I sat in the back of this church, I witnessed a neighborhood blessed like no other. Holla if you hear me.

-K Greene

Detroit Fist

A little known fact about myself is that I have an addiction for information. The subject matters not. I count it all worthy knowledge.  Sometimes when doing research, Google baits me with words previously undisclosed to my eyes. The search for the meanings and related pictures satisfy my cravings. Recently my hunger for information led me to an uneasy find. This find would lead me to an even worse realization.

For reasons that escape me to this day given the high profile nature of the case, Michael Brown’s autopsy report was made public. We all know he was shot by a Ferguson police officer with his hands raised. The Autopsy report would shed a little more light on the events of that interaction between Michael Brown and Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson.   I hesitated a few times before looking at the report. As a father myself, The images of the pain in the face of Michael’s father at the funeral haunted me for days. The loss of a son is the worse pain there is. The report would bring those images back in full force but in here lies the truth. There were two things that stood out that brought an immediate knot in my stomach.

1. On one of Michael’s hands, there is a gunshot wound. The report suggests that it was from the officer Wilson’s gun and more importantly, at close range. There is also another report of Michael’s blood being found on Officer Wilson’s patrol car. This corroborates Officer Wilson’s story of a struggle in his patrol car.

2. Toxicology report revealed the most important fact and this fact could very well clear Officer Wilson. The report stated that Michael Brown had Marijuana in his system at the time he was killed.

Any first year defense attorney would argue these two points in Officer Wilson’s defense. Anytime someone has been charged with a crime, toxicology has always been used to determine motive or state of mind of an offender. Officer Wilson’s defense will be Michael Brown was high, out of control, and  went for the officer’s gun to get away. That part of the story would be enough to clear any cop nationwide. Here is were the fuse will be lit. Michael Brown stopped when Officer Wilson commanded him to and put his hands in the air as a sign of surrender. Instead of calling for backup and placing Michael Brown in handcuffs, Officer Wilson proceeded to repeatedly shoot Michael Brown. A close range shot to the head being the death blow.  For that part, there is no excuse. Instead of due process, Michael Brown was executed. Justice denied and Officer Darren Wilson now stands a great chance of being exonerated.

For this fact, I am extremely fearful. Ferguson, MO will erupt in a true riot and not the sensationalized one covered a few months ago. Other cities will follow. Old cases will be revisited with fresh anger. Racial tensions that are already at breaking points around the nation will explode. Friendships will be tested and others fractured beyond repair. We have our justice system and elected officials to thank for this. By continuing African-American economic and educational inequality and oppression, we have a racial stress bomb that threatens the peace that we desperately need in this day and age. I can tell by the Republican private war on President Obama that things are unlikely to change. In fact, Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate, things may get worse. I am praying no more innocent blood is spilled due to ignorance. Pray and Holla if you hear me.

-K. Greene

Clear Wisdom

Posted: October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I wonder how many people understand this picture? I mean, really put it in proper context. I know you are wondering what I am getting at? Trust me, when I am done, the chaos referred to in this picture will become clear. I heard the quote once before but now as I see it scroll down my Facebook feed,  reality was once again there to greet me.

People often complain about the news and the stories they cover. Many see news media as simply reaping their ratings from consistently reporting on the ugliness of people. It is the same with reality shows such as Real Housewives of wherever, Anything on VH1,  and Maury with his DNA test to see the winners and losers of his “Baby Daddy” searches. Those are just the domestic examples. Now let’s throw in the pot the stock market, the economy, and war abroad.  All those things come together nicely in a chaos soup that we are being force-fed daily. The even crazier part is the fact that we are the Chefs. We asked for all of this. We ordered the ingredients necessary to feed our appetites for drama, selfishness, and wealth. We have to have these things by any means necessary especially if it will make you rich and famous! That’s why the words in the picture are so powerful!

“People were created to be loved.

Things were created to be used.

The reason why the world is in chaos

is because things are being loved

and people are being used.”

The wisdom in this statement cannot be anymore clearer! We can care less about our fellow-man. When it comes to our wants, needs, and greed, we will sacrifice and use anybody.  People get married for wealth. Some folks sell out their friends for a good story. Then there are those that will kill someone else for a large inheritance or a small reputation. Racism and prejudice are used to belittle one group of people in favor of another for all sorts of advantages. There are those men who feel the need rape and beat a woman to make them feel like a man. If a person decides to live a different way than us, it is customary to ridicule that person before understanding that person. Provided we even care after all of the ridicule. The potential to own a luxury car and a big house is worth more than a few hundred people. Don’t believe me? Ask your local politician. Better yet, watch him. He will show you before he will tell you.

There you have all the chaos your news media and reality shows need.  We feed these things with our own desires. I wonder what will happen if we desire to love each other and actually use things. What if  owning a Corvette and Mansion meant nothing if a few hundred had to suffer in order for you to have it? What if people were loved and money was used instead of money being loved and people being used? I hope one day we use clear wisdom and put an end to chaos.  I admit I am hoping for a lot but it’s worth it. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

 

 

Warning

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I have been in deep thought as of late. So forgive me for not posting since “Enough”.  I have to say “Enough” was an eye opener. Not only my eyes but my soul as well. For so long I have been obsessed with the conditions here in Detroit that I took my eyes off the big picture. I wanted to use my voice to uplift and encourage my fellow Detroiters. I wanted to start a different way of thinking. I thought I was on the right track.  As of right now, I am not so sure.

Sometimes I lose myself doing research. Facts, figures, and latest findings feed my mind like a steak to a hungry lion. Yet there is one figure that seems to be uninteresting to the educated masses. That is the number of unarmed black men assaulted or killed by Law officials.  Better yet, the number of African- Americans stopped by police and searched as opposed to Caucasians stopped and searched. What are the percentages of encounters of Law enforcement based on race in regards to state or city.  What could we learn from those stats? what will they teach us? What is the reason behind such an omission of fact? I get  that I have asked a lot of questions. The questions I have posed are the very same questions that our community is asking themselves and pretty soon we must ask the nation. If we African Americans are to be prosecuted and convicted on sight, what numbers support such dispensation of our legal system?

I challenge that there are none. The miscarriage of justice currently running rampant throughout our country based purely on racism cannot be justified by stats. Yet there is one constant that continues to grow. The ever increasing business of privatized prisons. Our judicial system that prides itself on equality is unequal in its operation. Any punishment is considered a debt to society however the goal of business is not to go into debt. If a prison cannot go into debt then it must be filled by any means necessary. Who fills it? The race with the least powerful voice in our judicial system. The poor and the black. Period and point blank.  I warn you. If we don’t work to turn it around now, inequality will be normal and true justice will be a thing of the past. Holla if you hear me.

- Kelly Greene

 

 

 

ENOUGH!!!

Posted: August 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Being born in the 70′s gave you the distinction of being born just after some of the worst times in American history… The Civil Rights Movement.  Now there was still a fair amount of racial tension but the blood shed and riots of previous years took their toll on everyone. The die hard racists agreed to disagree and a desire for peace was nourished by all races.  It is now 48yrs later and the growing number murdered African Americans at the hands of whites has relit the fuse. Blood in the streets and justice denied based upon the color of your skin.

Lately, My Facebook feed has been flooded with video and stories of unarmed young black men shot or choked to death. Many of these stories never made it to national news. There have been 5 this past month. Michael Brown- Ferguson, MO,  Eric Garner-Staten Island, NY , Ezell Ford – LA, Dante Parker -Victoville,CA , and John Crawford in Ohio.  It appears that our justice system has become bored with the whole innocent till proven guilty process when it comes to African American males. The process is now straight to judgment. Or “Legal Lynching” as I call it.  It doesn’t happen to any other race. The police have already made their minds up when it comes to African Americans. One video went viral recently of white cop straddling and punching a black woman on the side of the freeway. The message appears quite clear. Racism 2.0 is full effect and threatens to reopen old wounds of the Civil Rights movement of the 60′s.

I was hoping and praying that when LeBron James left the Miami Heat to re-sign with Cleveland Cavaliers, he would cite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws as a reason he left.  I would have been so proud to see him giving a press conference and explaining how the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis affected his decision.  I could just see him sitting at the podium and telling the whole room how uncomfortable he was raising his sons in a state where any white man could shoot and kill his boys and get away with it.  Jordan Davis’s killer, Michael Dunn only got convicted of attempted murder for each of the 3 boys that were with Davis in the truck Dunn shot up. Dunn won’t serve a day for Davis’s murder.  George Zimmerman as we all know was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder even with overwhelming evidence against him. Who could blame LeBron? Could you live in a state under those conditions and you had the power to leave? The Miami Heat as well as the City of Miami are expected to suffer significant financial loses not to mention potential championships.  LeBron had a golden opportunity to strike a huge blow for the African American community. Hitting a city or state in the wallet is the only way to make them listen. The best basketball player in the world could have led the way.

I am hoping our more affluent and successful African Americans take the lead. Their money and influence could go a long way to help bring us together as a people to combat these tragic events. We need our Lawyers and politicians to lead us politically and legally. They can voice our displeasure throughout our government. Yet I feel as if I am asking too much. Many of our more successful African Americans have chosen to remain silent and not take a stand. It seems like that they don’t want to risk endorsements or contracts by being too political and taking a stand. Many of our African American lawyers and politicians are too absorbed in themselves or their political party to set anything in motion. So it’s left up to the rest of us. The working poor, The hopeless, disenfranchised, victimized, and angry rest of us. We are therefore left with our only option … Riot.  That’s the only time the media seems or wants to listen. Our parents felt the same way in Detroit in 1968. They faced the dogs and water hoses to make things better for our community. It appears that 48ys later, Ferguson, MO has become ground zero for another phase of the Civil Rights Movement. If it has truly come to that, then I must prepare myself. The strange fruit that once hung from trees in the south now grow on the streets and sidewalks of our cities. Planted by seeds of injustice and fertilized by racism.  If I must face the dogs and water hoses to end this vicious harvest, then so be it. The next generations of African Americans are at stake. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

UPDATE: Michael Dunn was convicted of First Degree Murder in the Death of Jordan Davis September 30, 2014. The fight against injustice rages on.

H2O

Posted: July 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Detroit Fist

Summertime in Detroit is always a good time. The Riverwalk is alive with people enjoying beautiful days by the Detroit river. Lunchtime at Campus Martius is the new hotspot for everyone working downtown Monday-Friday.  A cleaner and ever improving Belle Isle continue to host all comers looking for outdoor fun but this summer, there is a dark cloud hovering overhead.

In March, The Detroit Water and Sewage Department began hiring contractors and sending them out to shutoff water to those who owe $150 or 60 days delinquent in paying their water bill. On top of this, an 8.7% across the board rate increase.  The first people targeted of course were the people. Average people in Detroit are trying to make a comeback after the economic downturn. I am all for paying your bills but there are 3 glaring points that make the execution of this very wrong.

1. Detroit is the only city targeted. The Department of Water and Sewage covers 40% of ALL MICHIGAN not just Detroit.  I have a hard time believing that Detroit is the only city with massive delinquent water bills. Why not a total sweep of all areas?

2. The numbers don’t lie.  Although the unemployment rate went from 24.8% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2013, the median household income in Detroit is 38.5% less than the Michigan average and 45.85 less than the national average.  The poverty level in Detroit is 157.4% greater than the Michigan average and 112.1% greater than the national average. (Source: areavibes.com)  Many citizens are still playing economic catch up with less than adequate income.  The Water Department itself shed 81% of its jobs. Those who remained see wage and benefit cuts.

3. Favoritism. The advantages of the top 1% have been well documented. It appears it applies to the water as well. While the Water Department was going after the little guys, big businesses were riding massive overdue bills without a care. VARGO GOLF owes for 2 properties. One for $478,207.59 ($437,714.11 past due) and the other $109,897.25 ($100.527.58 past due). Even the state of Michigan itself has a nice hefty bill $86,889.73 ($70,426.02 past due).

Recently, as many as 1000 people have marched and rallied downtown with more protest to come,  Canada has offered to bring water over for the less fortunate. The United Nations has declared water a human right. What will the out come be? We will have to wait and see.  It has become clear that if you are willing to take water from the poor, then you are willing to take anything from anybody. Especially if its for politics. Holla if you hear me!

K. Greene

 

We Still Must Rise

Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The literary community lost a giant in Maya Angelou.  It shook me not because of legacy she left, but the future of the literary arts going forward.  Ms. Angelou’s timeless wisdom poured out in her writing as water from a fountain.  Little did she know that her writing would nourish us all.

I admit some frustration in my work as of late. My words didn’t seem to fit their arrangement. The voice I had built in my writing now became as a foreign language.  A writer without his words is like a singer without a song.  Writer’s block is what it’s commonly called.  Maya Angelou’s death shattered that block.  The reason I love to write became clear.  Words spoken can be easily forgotten.  However, Words well written last forever.  People die but words do not.  The proper words could Inspire, Destroy, Teach, or Create.  A poem could bring true love or warn of moral doom.  This led me to a chilling realization.  The Literary arts are in danger.

Social media has the world communicating like never before.  Facebook and Twitter has been leading the way and that scares me.  A thought has a 140 character limit so it is hacked to death in illegible, slang-ridden shorthand.  Facebook is littered with rants absent of punctuation and heavy laden in misspelling. The thoughts they are trying to convey become a mass of twisted prepositional phrases void of direction.  This is now how we communicate and how can we communicate like this? Are we to write books and poetry like this as well?

Maya Angelou’s shoes are too big for one person to fill.  We all have to. Everyone inspired by her writing must honor her memory by holding true to our craft.  We have to be the ones that use our words to inspire, create, uplift, warn, and encourage.   As writers, we have to show the world the proper way to communicate.  Our words have to pass our wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the ages with clarity and definition.  Brother and Sister Writers, There will not be another Maya Angelou.  She left a legacy to inspire us for we still must Rise!  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

P.S. New Twitter handle!! @KellyGLive72

First of all, I want to give Detroit’s city lawyer Corporate Counsel Krystal Crittendon a round of applause.  When it was time to look out for Detroit’s best interest, she stepped up and filed a lawsuit on its behalf.  The city charter clearly states that Detroit cannot enter into a contract with its debtors.  That contract being the current Consent Agreement with the state.  In December of last year, Bing and the City Council told everyone the state owed the city of Detroit $284.6 million on live TV.  It is that $284.6 million that is the source of contention in Crittendon’s lawsuit.  Under the city charter, Detroit cannot enter into a Consent Agreement with the state because they owe the city of Detroit a large chunk of money!  However, Mayor Bing has now changed his tune.

Detroit will not pursue the money he (Bing) once said the state owes the city.  We need to borrow $80 million from the state or we go broke, the state is going to take over Belle Isle, and the state fair has gone to Novi.  Oh, and because Krystal Crittendon filed a lawsuit to stop this process, Mayor Bing is looking to remove her from office because she would not resign.  What is his reason?  Krystal Crittendon’s legal challenge adversely affected Detroit’s bond rating and ability to finance its ongoing operations, which could cost millions of dollars.  In short; What Governor Snyder wants, he gets!

That is the major reason why Detroit can’t get over the hump.  Those who were elected to fight for it continue to sell it out and those who do the right thing are made the villains.  The people no longer trust their leadership and I don’t blame them.  Crittendon’s challenge to the Consent Agreement was the right thing to do for the people.  If Detroit is to have a Consent Agreement, it is only right that it does not go against the city charter.  It is appalling that she must now lose her job.   Without Crittendon’s challenge, Snyder and Bing are free to go after Detroit’s union contracts.  That is really what this is all about.  More pay cuts and job losses for Police, Firemen, and city workers.  That in itself is a damn shame! Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

Trayvon Martin

Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,

I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,

I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.

I HAD  ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.

I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.

I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.

THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.

THE POLICE CAME OUT  SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.

WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?

WHY DOES HE GO FREE?

I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?

-K. Greene

Greetings people!!!  I hope everyone is still praying for our city.  Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever.  I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city.  Now, onto the business at hand!

In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right.  Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year.  Both books received great reviews.  Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!

Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”.  This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit.  Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over.   This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!

March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight.  Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book!  Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party.  I will definitely be in the building!!

This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!!  I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists.  Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!

-K Greene

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Dear Lord,

I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need.  For all those who have lost much and gained little.  For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less.  For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.

 I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened.  That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm.  So they may find comfort in one another.

 I pray for their minds: May they be open to change.  Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom. 

 I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them.  They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds.  A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay.  Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.  

  Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work.  Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make. 

I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers.  May old tattered books be a thing of the past.  Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children.  I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief.  That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all!   In all these things I pray, AMEN!

   Pray if you hear me!

                              – K. Greene

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I went to Lutheran High West in Detroit, MI.  In 4 yrs, I made a lot of friends.  Ayana was one of those friends.  She was such a good friend; we kept in touch whenever possible.  Facebook helped a lot!  Our conversations are a melting pot of where we been, our kids, the people who love us, and the ones that missed out.  The usual catching up between old classmates.  One conversation I have always avoided was the subject of her ailment.  I don’t like to bring up troubling issues.  I always try to keep my friend’s mind off unpleasant things.  That changed one day.  She sent me a link to a movie that totally blew my mind!  I had to call her and ask “What the HELL?!”.  It was her way of  letting me know she was ready to talk about it.  Not only that.  She wants everybody to know.

The movie was about a young lady who came down with an unexpected disease.  No warnings, no sneezing, coughing, or fever.  Just the slow deterioration of muscle movement to the point where her family was sure she would not survive.  Hope was all but lost until a diagnosis turned everything around.  Tests revealed that her body produced high levels of anti-bodies that attack one’s muscle neurons.  Also tests were done to check “specific” muscle weakness through repetitive nerve stimulation.  She had a severe case of  Myastenia Gravis.   Myastenia Gravis is not contagious, nor is it hereditary but it is extremely random!  It mostly affects women under 40 yrs old and men over 60 yrs old.  However, it can occur at any age and race is a non-factor.  Muscle weakness is common in 90% of all illnesses and weak eyes or “Cock Eye” is not a sure-fire way to tell if some one has Myastenia Gravis.  This is one deceptive disease!  Most people go 2 yrs before they are diagnosed, eluding  patient and doctor alike!

It all started for Ayana in 1997 when all of a sudden, she could not look down.  An M.R.I. turned up nothing and her symptoms went away.  Relieved, Ayana went about her normal life appearing none the worse for wear.  One morning in 2000 changed all of that.  She awoke with one eye closed and the other crossed!  An M.R.I. wasn’t going to satisfy her this time and this was ten times more terrifying!  It seems that her ordeal in ’97 was only a small piece of a bigger picture.  Her condition kept  doctors guessing.  She went to 3 different doctors before she was finally diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis in 2001.  We call it MG.  The Doctor’s visits are often and unsettling.  I mean, how would you feel if  doctors call interns into the room like you were a medical oddity?  MG is a neuromuscular disorder which causes chronic weakness.  The name itself comes from a Greek translation meaning “Grave Weakness”.  The movie she sent me was one of the more extreme cases.  Ayana’s symptoms are considered normal.  Muscle fasciculations or “Twitches” are common.  Also she is often fatigued and subject to blackouts.  Ayana’s  eyes won’t move depending on the severity of  her flare-up.  Heat has become her enemy.  Having MG makes it difficult to enjoy a warm summer day.  A heat wave is unbearable for you and I but for her, it is crippling.  MG does not stop one from living a full life or holding down a job.  Ayana’s job allows her to work from home whenever symptoms become overwhelming.  These days understanding bosses are rare and Ayana’s have been nothing short of supportive.  Every bit helps.

Ayana shared her story with me to help her friends.  Friends she would probably never see face to face but share her disease.  She feels that raising awareness is the only way to ensure that more research is done.  The quality of life for those with this disease is depending on it.  Hopefully, one day something can be done to make diagnosis faster.  Or maybe a cure!  In the meantime, hopefully we are all a little wiser after reading this blog.  Myastenia Gravis is not a widely known disease but it should be.  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

For More Info:

Myastenia Gravis Fact Sheet:  http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm#179993153

The Movie “Mute Mannequin”:  http://youtu.be/4EX2u8–YVg  (Copy and Paste the link into your browser)

Facebook Support Group:http://www.facebook.com/groups/6126913853?ap=1

Dream Big

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

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I remember as a boy first hearing Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.  I was moved by the strength of those words.  Dr. King had a huge dream and he knew he may not be alive to see it but fought for it as if it was just around the corner. Racial equality was his dream then and during that speech, everyone shared his dream.  As a young boy, I made sure I kept his dream in my thoughts.  Now as a grown man, I see another meaning to his speech.

Some people dream and dismiss it as entertainment for a sleeping mind. I see it differently. A dream can be almost prophetic. Matter of fact, a dream can be 100% Prophetic if that is what you want and the size of the dream means nothing. Dream big, huge. Then do the things that would get you towards that dream. I believe that a dream is a future just waiting for a little work. That’s what I get out of Dr. Kings speech now. Overcoming Jim Crow and powering the Civil Rights Movement seemed like a far fetched dream. The work Dr. King put in made that dream close to reality. The only thing needed is for us to put in more work.

I also have a dream. That dream is called Detroit. I dream of my hometown becoming  a thriving downtown tourist spot.  A new shopping mall downtown along with nice town houses in walking distance of arts and entertainment. I dream about two more light rails in Detroit. There should be one that runs the length of Grand River for the west side and another running the length of Gratiot on the east side. The light rails will connect neighborhood  people with good paying jobs. I also dream about my fellow artists here in Detroit. Many go unsung for the simple fact that we are not in L.A. or New York. I dream that all that changes and we become the new Motown Sound. Are you willing to put in the work in? Are you dreaming big enough with me? Holla if you hear me!

 

-K Greene

 

Mind Over Money

Posted: June 24, 2014 in Reflections

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Recently, I have been thinking about the quest to make money.  I know what you are about say, “Why now? You should always think about making money.” The truth is that I don’t. It enters into my mind maybe once every two weeks or so. I know your next question summed up in one word…Why? Well I will tell you.

For the record, yes I would like to be rich. Famous would be nice too but not necessary. However, when and if that happens I want to be mentally ready. I know a lot of people who want to be rich but I almost fear what they would turn out to be. Money doesn’t solve your problems. It enhances them. I know you would get yourself out of debt, buy homes for your family, and want for nothing. Sounds cool doesn’t it? What isn’t cool is that you are soon broke. Why? You started in debt which means that you were probably bad at budgeting from the start. Your rags to riches and back to rags story confirms it.

I don’t watch reality shows but you don’t have to in order to find out the latest foolishness.  It winds up on the news or TMZ and you say “I would never do that”. If you have unresolved personal issues, you could.  Drugs, Sex, Anger, Jealousy, and Narcissism all become magnified by your new social status. Any one of these can ruin your life in an instant. Greed makes it 10x’s worse.  Some would fight to stay rich. Even commit murder.

Most of my friends and family are talented, very talented. Any of them can easily be thrust into superstardom overnight.  Here in Detroit, we are rich with talent. The harsh economic climate had given our local artist time and incentive to perfect their passions. I hope however, that they take the time to read this. I want them to take the time to perfect their souls as well as their craft.  Personal wealth comes from within.  Deal with your faults and seek peace with yourself.  So when fortune comes your way, YOU are in control and not fame.  Holla if you hear me!

- K. Greene

Abandoned Property Cover

The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” has rang true in multiple situations.  Here is no different. In fact, this book gives you way more than expected. “Abandoned Property” is the follow up to author Kai Mann’s debut novel “30 Day Notice”.  In “Abandoned Property”,  we go deeper into the world of Kori Maitlan.  We also learn more about her life and those in her inner circle: Jerard, Darius, Jay, Layla, Karina, and Coco.

In true Quentin Tarantino fashion, the beginning chapters bounce from the origins of one character to the next.  It can be a little distracting but bear with it. As you make your way through the story, the characters grow up before your very eyes.  Soon they become intertwined in life, love, and friendship.  Each individual shares a common pain.  The pain of Abandonment.  In each story, somewhere in the character’s life, abandonment played a key role. We see the impact on all sides and situations. Even as Kori struggles to find herself in her new life, she is bombarded by thoughts of her children in another state with her ex-husband.  She maintains contact with them yet she fears they may feel abandoned by her. Kai Mann draws us into that fear through the lives of the other characters.  You see the mental scars of Kori’s friends and you really feel for all of them.  You can’t help it because we have all been in similar situations.

And that is the beauty of this book.  You are in this story.  Each character represents you or someone you know.  You’ve heard about someone in a situation similar to the ones in this book.  I guarantee that you probably gave your best to that person and didn’t think anymore about it.  “Abandoned Property” draws you in and doesn’t let you go that easy.  You are fully immersed in their world.  When you finish this book, the world you live in may not look the same.  The stories and lessons in this novel will defiantly help you see people in a different light.  The lines between race, creed, and color, vanish in a wave of empathy and enlightenment.  If you are against the LGBT lifestyle, most people would say that this is not the book for you.  Those people would be wrong.  This is the book for you.  You might change your mind and open your eyes for the better.  This a great read! Holla at this book!

-K Greene